Gove’s Womble army of dystopian De­tec­torists

The New European - - Agenda -

A bur­glary sus­pect be­ing held on re­mand es­caped from jail in Louisville, Ken­tucky, last week­end by hid­ing in a trash can and cov­er­ing him­self with waste. His name was Jeremy Hunt.

Pho­tos re­leased by the lo­cal de­part­ment of corrections soon showed this Hunt to be a sleepy-eyed, shaven­headed type, punc­tur­ing any thoughts that our own for­eign sec­re­tary might have jet­ted to the USA on diplo­matic busi­ness, man­u­fac­tured a spot of trou­ble to land be­hind bars and then buried him­self in garbage, all just to get a jumpstart on Michael Gove’s ex­cit­ing new plan to turn post-brexit Brits into a na­tion of rub­bish heap mag­pies. Be­com­ing, if you will, a scav­enger Hunt.

In case you missed it, the en­vi­ron­ment sec­re­tary has called for coun­cils to throw open the doors of waste sites so we can “search for gold” among the bro­ken bi­cy­cles and stained mat­tresses like dystopian De­tec­torists.

Gove is a man who said re­cently that Brexit would of­fer a “sea of op­por­tu­nity”, but ob­vi­ously ne­glected to men­tion it would be a sea of knack­ered toast­ers and Sim­ply Red cas­settes.

A man who, in Fe­bru­ary 2016, wrote that “we can show the rest of Europe the way to flour­ish”, and now re­veals that what we will be flour­ish­ing is an empty aerosol can.

The un­kind sug­gest that, since Gove must read his wife Sarah Vine’s Daily Mail col­umn, the con­cept of trawl­ing through mounds of fetid de­tri­tus in search of a pearl or two is a pur­suit fa­mil­iar to him.

Or that, since Gove so closely re­sem­bles the chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion char­ac­ter Pob, it is hardly sur­pris­ing to find him tak­ing strat­egy notes from the Wombles and the mouse-or­gan mice out of Bag­puss.

Per­haps, they say, this is why he ig­nores the sim­ple fact that the vast ma­jor­ity of what can be found of coun­cil waste tips is – sur­prise! – waste.

Peo­ple with func­tion­ing but ob­so­lete irons and ra­dios and tele­vi­sions tend to get rid of them through Gumtree or Freecy­cle, often be­cause they lack ei­ther a nearby coun­cil tip or the trans­port to get to one. Sal­vage­able elec­tri­cal items which do end up in waste sites tend to stay there sim­ply be­cause of the cost of safety test­ing and re­pair. You can’t fault a politi­cian for try­ing new so­lu­tions but with the en­vi­ron­ment sec­re­tary there is a hint of the old quote about Sepp Blat­ter: “He has 50 ideas be­fore break­fast, and 51 of them are bad.”

This plan, you feel sure, will soon fol­low other Gove great­est hits – end­ing a school build­ing scheme with­out con­sul­ta­tion, the Har­vey We­in­stein ‘joke’, scrap­ping school sports part­ner­ship and free books, cuts to le­gal aid, the whole Boris for PM cam­paign thing – on to one of his beloved scrap heaps.

And per­haps it is un­der­stand­able that Gove is so con­cerned with re­cy­cling at the mo­ment.

Dur­ing her speech to the Con­ser­va­tive party con­fer­ence in Birm­ing­ham, Theresa May told del­e­gates: “I pas­sion­ately be­lieve that our best days lie ahead of us and that our fu­ture is full of prom­ise.”

It must have sounded fa­mil­iar to Gove, who launched his dis­as­trous bid for the Tory lead­er­ship in July 2016 with these words: “My heart tells me that if we are bold, if we refuse to set­tle for busi­ness as usual, if we dare to dream and sum­mon up all the qual­i­ties that have made this coun­try the great­est in the world, then for Bri­tain – and its peo­ple – our best days lie ahead.”

Stir­ring stuff. But Gove did not coin the ‘best days ahead’ line ei­ther. It came from a 1971 speech by Richard Nixon, the worst pres­i­dent un­til the cur­rent one, and a man to whom Amer­i­cans were will­ing to say some­thing Gove is not: Good rid­dance to bad rub­bish.

SAY WHAT? “Do you hon­estly think Theresa May can be clas­si­fied as be­ing right-wing? How is she right-wing?”

Yes, Nigel Farage is ev­ery bit as stupid as he seems

SCAV­ENGER HUNT: Michael Gove has a plan to turn us into Wombles

STEVE AN­GLE­SEY’S

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